Started off my last full day heading to Disney's Hollywood Studios and a FastPass+ for Toy Story. After that walked through the Star Wars Launch Bay and then used another FastPass+ for the Little Mermaid. Strolled over to the Muppet area and used a FastPass+ for the Muppets and ate lunch at Rizzos. After lunch wandered back toward Hollywood Blvd and then decided to hop on a Friendship Launch toward Epcot. Disembarked at the Yacht & Beach Club and walked the rest of the way. Once in the park spent some time in the United Kingdom and Canada before stopping for the American Music Machine in Future World. Walked through the small part of Innoventions that is left then paid a visit to the Universe of Energy followed by the Seas with Nemo. Strolled back to World Showcase and the International Gateway. Caught a Friendship Launch to the Swan/Dolphin to meet some friends and visit then dinner at Shulas. After dinner walked to Epcot and around World Showcase Lagoon to Germany. Watched the opening songs of the band before moving on to China to watch the Acrobats then doubled back to the Candlelight. As the show wrapped up walked by Japan, Morocco, France, the UK and Canada taking some pictures on my way to use my FastPass+ for Illuminations. After the show walked quickly to the Monorail to the TTC then transferred to one for the Magic Kingdom. At the Magic Kingdom pushed through the exiting crowd and found a spot near the hub for Once Upon a Time. After the show reversed course and joined the masses leaving the park. Waited a half dozen buses then headed back to Pop Century to call it a night.
Thoughts & Observations:
- Started the day at Hollywood Studios. The Toy Story Return was a mild 45 minutes. Seems the 3rd track has paid dividends and kept the stand by waits more reasonable. Still longer than Disney California Adventure on average though. Would be curious average wait time if there were no FastPass.
- Walked through the Star Wars Launch Bay. The last gallery featured items from Rogue One. There were some props and replicas in the cases. Nothing drastically different in terms of scope than before but nice to see them updating the exhibit with something new.
- Decided to use a FastPass+ for the Voyage of the Little Mermaid since I needed to roll through three before I could make more. I ended up being the first person in a row which put me on the far side of the theater. From there the view of the center of the stage was ok, but Ariel was not visible for most of the show which was a really poor sight line.
- Grabbed lunch at Rizzos and it had more guests than the other evening but was still virtually empty.
- After lunch we headed for Epcot. Took the boat since it was available and to save some steps. Disembarked at the Yacht and Beach Club. We took a slow walk and pictures along the way and still beat the boat to Epcot by a couple minutes, it was docking as we entered the park.
- I had a depressing afternoon at Epcot. First up I took a look at Innoventions. It is in a really bad state with only two exhibits open on the east side. The rest are closed down, walled off, or turned into character meet and greets. Overall Innoventions is a shell of it former self and needs to be put out of its misery or a heavy investment made. I think walked through to Universe of Energy and it is really in need of some TLC too.. but with rumors of it closing relatively soon I do not see that happening.
- On the west side visited the Living Seas. We skipped the Nemo portion and went into the aquarium part. There was a healthy crowd inside and plenty to see. Turtle Talk looked rather empty though.
- Dinner this evening was at Shula's Steakhouse. We met some friends at the Dolphin then had dinner. The meal was great as you would expect. Shulas has been very consistent in recent years with great steaks and service. You pay for this but the meals have not disappointed.
- After dinner most of my group retreated to the hotel to pack and rest. I made the most out of my last evening and headed for Epcot. It was mild weather and crowds this evening. I caught some entertainment around World Showcase then made my way to the FastPass+ area for Illuminations. The inferno barge was only used for the opening few seconds, not the entire opening number as usual. This happened the other night too. It was kind of fun an older, retired, couple stood next to me and they had never seen the show. Watching their reactions and listening to them was great.
- As soon as the final shells finished exploding I made my way to the front of the park and hopped on the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom then transferred to the express. I was on the Monorail as Wishes concluded. I reached the Magic Kingdom around 10:15, with half an hour to spare before the 10:45 show.
- Unfortunately this put me in the middle of the exit madness after Wishes. I was met with a wall of guests leaving the park and they were not friendly or happy that I was trying to enter and walk up Main Street. I tried the side along the shops and after the third stroller I decided to go out in the middle and just push my way up the street. Three or four yelled at me that I was going the wrong way and several others muttered comments as I pushed through. It was not a fun experience but I expected it since most do not seem to know what Once Upon a Time is and are past exhausted by 10pm so the thought of staying till 10:45 was not going to happen.
- Found a spot around 10:30 near the small hill on Main Street before the hub. Thought this would be a good spot. A PhotoPass photographer came and set up shop literally right in front of me. I was in the front of their line. Several people seemed upset that I was in line (which I wasn't). I did end up moving about 10 feet closer to get out of the line, but now I was in every ones photo.. I understand wanting to get photos of guests but with less than 10 minutes until the lights went out for the show why not wait. Also you see someone waiting for a show and set up there any ways..
- Once Upon a Time was slightly better from this distance than up front, but the show still lacks the spectacle that Tokyo has. I think Disney has done a very poor job marketing the show and educating guests about it and running it at 10:45pm is way too late.
- After Once Upon a Time I headed for the bus stops. Pop Century was really backed up. I was in line around 11pm and did not get back to Pop Century until mid-night. I think I was on the 5th or 6th bus that pulled in while I waited.
Pedometer Information for the day:
Part I: Hollywood Studios
Spent the morning at Disney's Hollywood Studios including a look at Rogue One A Star Wars Story items.
Part II: Epcot & Magic Kingdom
A couple trips to Epcot followed by Once Upon a Time at the Magic Kingdom
Other Picture sets from today: